Create Cool Summer Spaces With Awnings
Wednesday Jun 07th, 2023
If you have any kind of outdoor space, the chances are good that it’s the perfect place to hang out in only limited windows throughout the year. Although you probably imagined something like a backyard oasis when you chose your home, the reality is a little different when the sun gets a bit too bright and bears down a little extra enthusiastically.
That’s ok! There’s a solution for this very problem, and it’s a simple fix that can help transform that hot, bright patio or deck into a truly flexible outdoor haven. That’s right, it’s time to consider adding an awning to your home.
What Is an Awning?
Awnings were very popular features of homes prior to widespread air conditioning systems, and even persisted after central air was common to help shade windows and porches. You still see them as standard features on recreational vehicles, but they’re also coming back as important parts of a home’s exterior.
These large shades, made of materials like durable cloth or aluminum, are simple to install, relatively inexpensive, and create pools of shade immediately. Unlike trying to grow trees for shade, which can take years and years, or installing temporary shades like sail shades, awnings are fast and permanent solutions to your heat puddle woes.
In the past, they only came as fixed units, so once installed, they were where they were, even if you needed there to be more sunlight in the shaded space at certain times of the year. Today, however, you can choose between fixed awnings and retractable awnings, and even awnings that have remote controls to help you open and close them whenever you feel like it.
Retractable Awnings Versus Fixed Awnings
Because there are so many awning types available today, it can be hard to decide which one is ideal for your situation. Perhaps the most important question you need to ask yourself is if you’d be better off with a retractable awning or a fixed awning. Both have their pros and cons.
Fixed awnings are generally very sturdy, and can be less expensive because of the lack of additional mechanisms required to make them open and close. They don’t need a lot of maintenance because they have no moving parts, so besides the occasional wash, they mostly just hang around. Fixed awnings are great for patios that you’d like to shade year-round, or for places like above windows or doors that let far too much sun into your home.
Retractable awnings, on the other hand, can be an important part of your home’s climate management, even if they also double as shades for entertainment spaces. Because they can retract, you can close these awnings when the weather starts to cool off to allow the sun to help warm your home through passive solar heating. Even if you don’t need the thermal help, they can be closed before bad storms or heavy snows, leaving you with one less thing to worry about.
Freestanding Awnings Offer Flexible Solutions
If you’re not quite sure where you want your awning installed, or that you want it installed on your home at all, a freestanding awning might be the right solution for you. They’re great for backyards and pool areas, creating a lot of shade exactly where you need it, without being dependent on the location of a nearby wall.
Like building-mounted awnings, freestanding awnings come in a variety of materials, designs, and with retractable or fixed options. The only difference is that instead of being mounted on a building, they’re mounted on top of legs, much like a pop-up canopy. There is some risk with this design of wind damage, so if you’re in a windy area, make sure to choose one rated for high wind speeds and mount it securely to the ground.